The Economist: Americanisms to Avoid

Travel Blog  •  Eva Holland  •  10.12.09 | 4:29 PM ET

Here’s an entertaining tidbit from The Economist’s style guide, advising writers for the venerable British weekly on a few American-style variations of the English language that are best left unused. A sample:

Make a deep study or even a study in depth, but not an in-depth study. On-site inspections are allowed, but not in-flight entertainment. Throw stones, not rocks, unless they are of slate, which can also mean abuse (as a verb) but does not, in Britain, mean predict, schedule or nominate. Regular is not a synonym for ordinary or normal: Mussolini brought in the regular train, All-Bran the regular man; it is quite normal to be without either. Hikes are walks, not increases. Vegetables, not teenagers, should be fresh. Only the speechless are dumb, the well-dressed smart and the insane mad. Scenarios are best kept for the theatre, postures for the gym, parameters for the parabola.

And some people think there are no cultural differences to speak of between Americans and their trans-Atlantic neighbors—or should I say neighbours? (Via Gadling)

Eva Holland is co-editor of World Hum. She is a former associate editor at Up Here and Up Here Business magazines, and a contributor to Vela. She's based in Canada's Yukon territory.

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